Thursday, January 17, 2008

Triple Vision

Suffering from double vision can be quite debilitating. But what about triple vision? Looking at one single item and then always seeing three of them could drive you crazy after awhile. I suppose if it is hundred dollar bills things wouldn't seem too bad, that is until you go to spend the money you really do not possess.

When it comes to the orthodox view of the Godhead, when we look at God, who is One, (Deuteronomy 6:4) we are told that we are not really looking at one, but at three. Yet, these three are truly three separate persons, not just some blurring of our vision. We use the theological description of one essence and three persons. But whatever description, terms, or explanation we posit, seems to fall woefully short. We speak of the trinitarian understanding of the Godhead as a mystery, and such it truly is. It is a reality around which we cannot fully wrap our minds.

This week I hope to bring some clarity to the mystery. To explain the unexplainable. To open our eyes to the deep truth which is the wonder of God. A task impossible, in my estimation. And yet, God has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He has made Himself known to those who will seek Him, to those who call upon His name. (Jeremiah 29:13)

What I am coming to discover is that what God desires us to know is not necessarily how the Trinity can be a possibility, but to rather seek to understand how the Trinity works in relationship. Jesus prays for us that we will be one, even as He and the Father are one. (John (17:11)Acts 2:24, 1 Corinthians 12:7) The Trinity, I am coming to see, is about relationship, or better yet, communion, and we, as followers of Christ, are called to that communion. In seeking to comprehend the communion of the Trinity, we can better understand, and hopefully apply the communion of the saints.

I surely don't have the answers here (no shocker, I realize), but I do believe that for too long we may have been focusing upon the form rather than the function and in the process we have missed the great gift our gracious God has for us, revealed in the tri-unity of God who is One.

Care to offer your thoughts? Questions? Prayers?


gentledove said...

People have used ice cubes, water, ice, vapor and three leaf clovers to explain the trinity. The best example I have found to explain it to very scientific non-believers is to explain that pure white light in the additive model consists of equal amounts of three colors – Red, Green, and Blue. Play around with the RGB mode in a graphics program and you will notice that the more you ADD these three colors (in equal amounts), the less you see of the actual colors you are adding. Add enough of these three colors in equal amounts and you end up with white light.

I think this example helps explain because when looking at all three colors in equal amounts, one not only doesn’t see triple, one sees only one color -- white light. Of course none of us have ever seen really pure unfiltered light. It would blind us. What we are really seeing is a gray so light that we “perceive” it as white.

Speaking of perception, some animals only see black and white. It’s the cones in our eyes that cause us to see colors in the first place when various light waves are absorbed and/or reflected. Some people who are color blind, do not see the same colors most people see. Point being, just because we can’t see something with our naked eye doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It is also interesting to me that Einstein probably understood more about light than many scientists and while not a Christian, he adamantly believed there had to be a God.

At least this explanation keeps many scientific types from (in good conscience) just writing me off as a naive, ignorant, misguided soul because I believe that God is one God who consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or because I believe in God at all.

The early disciples couldn’t see the father or the Holy Ghost because they couldn’t see into the spiritual realm. Jesus took human form. The father and the Holy Ghost did not take human form so when the disciples looked at the one God they did not see the Father part of him (spiritual) nor did they see the Holy Ghost (spiritual) part of him. They saw only the physical manifestation -- Jesus the part of God that they could see with their human eyesight.

If the disciples could see into the spiritual realm, I’m convinced that they would still have found themselves looking at just one God, but they would have seen Him in his fullness because they would no longer be suffering from limited eyesight, understanding, and comprehension, but would have had perfect spiritual eyesight.

Yet when all is said and done,it is still impossible to wrap our heads around this so one still has to be able embrace the great mystery and simply trust and believe in Jesus.

The most important thing I believe is to try hardest to wrap our hearts around how much God loves us -- something else that is too much for us to take in, Too wide, too deep, just too much for us to fully comprehend. We owed a debt we couldn't pay so he paid it for us and now we owe only the debt of love for God and one another.

Pastor Randy said...


Thanks, I am going to give my old computer RGB filters a try. Sounds interesting, and of course would be a excellent "tool" especially when we recall that Jesus is the Light of the World. How cool. Thanks!

I am in the midst of reading through the early church development of the theology surrounded the development of what we now hold as the doctrine of the Trinity. Hundreds of years of work and development, of course they didn't have wikipedia to use as a development tool in their "defining" the idea of the tri-unity of God.

Your closing thoughts of course are right on the correct reminder in the midst of this discussion which could be rather heady.

Thank you again for your insight. May the Lord bless you richly and may you be ever aware of His deep love for you

gentledove said...

I sometimes teach color theory at a local hobby shop and an art club I belong to.

I've often thought it would make a good Sunday school class to use flashlights with red, blue, and green mylar coverings to teach them additive mixing, (while talking about the trinity) then teach them subtractive mixing and have them paint mother's day or father's day or christmas cards for their parents.

The kids could have fun playing in paint at the same time. Of course, I know nothing about children, what age groups or whatever are capable of what. But hey, these days children are learning such advanced math in gradeschool that their parents can't even help them with their homework. I doubt this would be over their heads.

I taught Sunday School once years ago. The children were figuratively speaking swinging from the chandeliers. I have no control so they were totally out of control. Imagine the mess I could let them make with paint. An abstract mural on the walls no doubt.

I better stick with grown ups.